Rabbinic literature is loaded with discussions about the importance and greatness of Bris Milah. In many postings, I have alluded to the connection between Bris and Pesach (I will write about this some day). One of the most noticable connections is that Elijah the prophet makes an "appearance" at both.
פרקי דרבי אליעזר (היגר) - "חורב" פרק כחבני יעקב מלו את בניהם ואת בני בניהם והנחילם לחק עולם עד שעמד פרעה הרשע וגזר גזירות קשות ומנע להם ברית מילה, וביום שיצאו ישראל ממצרים נמולו כל העם מקטון ועד גדול, שנ' כי מולים היו, והיו ישראל לוקחין דם ברית מילה ונותנין על משקוף בתיהם דם ברית מילה ודם פסח ונתמלא רחמים על ישראל, שנ' ואעבור עליך ואראך מתבוססת בדמיך, בדמך לא כתיב אלא בדמיך, בשני דמים דם ברית מילה ודם פסח, ואומר לך בדמיך חיי, ר' אליעזר אומ' וכי מה ראה הכתוב שני פעמים בדמיך חיי, אלא אמ' הב"ה בזכות דם ברית מילה ובזכות דם פסח נגאלו ממצרים ובזכות דם ברית מילה ובזכות דם פסח אתם עתידים להגאל בסוף מלכות רביעי
The children of Jacob circumcised their children and grandchildren and left them with this practice forever until the wicked Pharaoh rose and made harsh decrees, preventing them from doing Bris Milah (performing the covenantal circumcision). On the day they left Egypt the entire nation was circumcised, from young to old, as it says "Because they were circumcised when they left Egypt" (Joshua 5:5).3. A Covenant of Blood (count continues from previous posting)
The Israelites took the blood of the circumcision and they put that blood and the blood of the Paschal lamb and put them both on the doorposts to become recipients of God's mercy on that fateful night, as it says " And I passed by you and saw you downtrodden with your bloods, and I said to you, 'With your bloods, live,' and I said to you, 'With your bloods, live.' (Ezekiel 16:6). It doesn't say "blood" in the singular, because it refers to two bloods which caused God to skip over the houses that night.
Rabbi Eliezer says, "Why does the verse say 'With your bloods, live' twice? Because the Holy One Blessed be He declared that in the merit of the blood of the covenant and in the merit of the blood of the lamb the Israelites were redeemed from Egypt, and in those same merits they will be redeemed again, at the end of the fourth exile."
In essence, then, we have a covenant created over blood.
Think of the concept of being "Blood Brothers," or of swearing or sealing an agreement with blood. In modern times we might look at such an idea as being figurative, but in ancient times as well as until relatively recently, a blood arrangement was literally made with the sharing of blood.
There is one argument that states that circumcision is the right of the individual, and not the parent, to make. While this is a valid argument to make when it comes to elective surgeries like breast augmentation and even routine circumcision, it is irrelevant when it comes to Bris Milah. Bris Milah is a mitzvah for a father to do on his child. Every Jewish source, compiled by scholars who understood Jewish law, is very clear on this point. And the way a father demonstrates his agreement to his own circumcision is through doing it to his son.
Additionally, halacha provides for the ceremony of hatifat dam berit (shedding of a token drop of blood) for babies who can not be circumcised due to health reasons. This is deemed to be completely valid in marking the Covenant.
It is true that a Jew is Jewish no matter what, if born to a Jewish mother. But it is also true that not circumcising carries with it the following "drawback" (take it as you will):
The uncircumcised male whose foreskin has not been circumcised, shall have his soul cut off from his people; he has broken My covenant.' (Genesis 17:14)
People are entitled to have their heart dictate to them how they are going to live their lives. Thankfully, we live in a free society where individuals have freedom of choice. You can choose to circumcise, or not. You can accept the emotional attachment some have to this commandment, or reject it. You can say this doesn't work for me. But this becomes a personal choice. Your own emotions will not dictate public policy, and frankly, if you play with other people's fears, you have a good chance of having your agenda backfire on you.
The intellectual approach to "choosing" whether or not to have the Bris done to one's child is a challenge in and of itself. The real intellectual does a tremendous amount of research, asks all the right questions, gathers the information – all the facts and opinions, and comes to a conclusion.
The unfortunate element of the "intellectual" anti-bris movement is that it is pseudo-intellectual. In a phrase, it is "intellectually dishonest." We can raise all the arguments we want about the greatness of the foreskin, the thousands of nerve endings in it, the important role it plays for the penis, etc.
The reality is that most normal circumcised men do not think twice about their missing foreskin. They don't miss it, and are usually glad it was removed when it was, at the age of a few days old.
The "trauma" most people speak of has nothing to do with the bris. Anyone who was a few days old and had an uncomplicated procedure (which is the case for most people), heal in a couple of days and live very normal existences. And they have zero memory of the experience. The only ones who might suffer any traumatic experience are the baby's parents who really did not know what they were in for.
Bris Milah is a mitzvah given by God to Avraham, and then to Moses at Mt. Sinai. Every covenant between God and the Jewish people alludes to this agreement, which is accompanied by this surgical procedure. It is not outdated, and was never meant to be outdated. The only element which is outdated are some ancient methods of achieving the desired result, which are easily remedied with 21st century sensibilities (i.e. an awareness of the positive developments of sterile technique, as well as the causes of infections).
Even people of faith have questions, and asking questions is a good thing. But no single answer is sufficient, no single rabbi or teacher can give you all the answers. However, a conclusion must come from somewhere, and it stems from all the research you'll do, the questions you'll ask, the people you will come in touch with.
The difference, though, with people of faith, is that even when they have questions, their conclusions are foregone conclusions. They know they will do the Bris Milah not only because it is "part of the tradition," but also because it is part of the definition of who we are as a people.
"You want to be a Jew through and through, able to participate in all aspects of the Jewish experience?" the Torah asks. "Well, being a Jew, being part of this tradition, requires one thing of the males – to be circumcised."
There is even a tradition to circumcise the uncircumcised before burying them. Which means that even if in life your parents and then you decided to leave you alone, it will all be for naught when the Jewish burial society prepares your body for burial. But I don't want to scare you.
Find out who you are, do the research, look into everything, and make a choice. Use your brain, look into God's law, and discover the truth that is in your heart.